Texas Governor Greg Abbot announced on Tuesday that the state of Texas will be fully reopening businesses as more and more Texans are being vaccinated against coronavirus.
"So today," he said, "I'm issuing an executive order that rescinds most of the earlier executive orders."
"Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100 percent," Abbot proclaimed. "That includes any type of entity in Texas."
"Also, I am ending the state-wide mask mandate."
This news comes nearly a year after the first lockdowns began in the US. It was in November that Abbott declared that there would be no further lockdowns in the state of Texas. Prior to that, Abbott had reacted as had many other leaders in locking down citizens and closing businesses.
At the time, his strategy was to stay the course as the state headed into the holiday season. While he kept a mask mandate at the time, he declined to impose "any more lockdowns."
Many local officials his state found frustration with his decision. One county judge, Lina Hidalgo, said at the time that "we need the state to step in and lead or get out of the way and let us lead." Abbott is certainly taking the lead now.
Texas will join Florida, another big US state which is open, as well as some lower population states, like North and South Dakota, where life has been moving along somewhat as usual. Other states imposed curfews and drastic restrictions on their populations.
Texas was recently hit with extreme winter storms that wiped out power for millions of Texans, creating a triple problem of the pandemic, plus COVID-inspired restrictions, and a complete disruption of normal life due to lack of power for days on end.
This is a developing story and will be updated.